A proa is a twin hulled boat with one main hull and one float, a bit like a trimaran with one float missing.
Proas were very common a few thousand years ago; they were used all over the Pacific Ocean. These were Pacific proas, meaning their float was to windward. ETHOS is an Atlantic proa, whose float is to leeward.

Proas do not tack; instead, the front becomes the back and the back becomes the front. They are said to be amphidromic.

Left: JZERO, a pacific proa. Right: CHEERS,the legendary atlantic proa.
By looking at these photos, some viewers may think an atlantic proa may be safer than a pacific proa...

Proas were largely forgotten until 1967. Then, multihull designer Dick Newick designed a 40ft long proa, called CHEERS, that was to become a legend after sailing the Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race in 1968, finishing third and astonishing the sailing community. Several proas were then built during the 70s and 80s, with various degrees of success. Two successful boats were Gilles Ollier's FUNAMBULE and Daniel Charles's TAHITI DOUCHE.

FUNAMBULE, the French name for a person walking a tight rope… The boat was designed by Gilles Ollier and sailed by Guy Delage, a very experienced proa expert.

ETHOS is a 24 feet long experimental proa, featuring an assymetrical float, 2 rudders, 2 free-standing carbon fibre masts and a small cabin. The boat is built of wood-epoxy by Pacific Marine in Malaysia.

Length: 7.20m
Beam: 3.40m
Weight: 360kg
Sail area: 17m2 (25m2 with jib)
Draft: 0.18/0.90m
Designer: Bruno Fehrenbach

The approach in building ETHOS is one of minimalism. The boat is engineered to be as simple as possible. No electric system, no automatic pilot, no winches… to optimise performance with the bare minimum of hardware.

ETHOS is currently being completed. This web site will be updated to follow the progress of the boat.
ETHOS will be sailing the South China Sea with an intention to show the boat to local communities in the different neighbouring countries and set a few speed records in a region where very little sailing is being done. The first attempt is likely to be between peninsular Malaysia and Borneo.

The experience gained with ETHOS should lead to the construction of a large proa later.

© SmallWorld 2000
Updated June 2000